Recital cel­e­brates 200th an­niver­sary of Chris­tian Di­ef­fen­bach Pipe Or­gan

Event fea­tures two de­scen­dants of or­gan builder Larry Di­ef­fen­bach and Adam Di­ef­fen­bach

The Hamburg Area Item - - Local News - By Carol Di­ef­fen­bach Kant­ner

A ben­e­fit or­gan recital was held on Sun­day, Oct. 1, at 3 p. m. at Al­ta­laha Lutheran Church, Godfrey Street, Rehrersburg.

This year’s recital cel­e­brates the 200th an­niver­sary of the Chris­tian Di­ef­fen­bach Pipe Or­gan that was built for Al­ta­laha and ded­i­cated there in Novem­ber 1817, as well as the 500th an­niver­sary of the Re­for­ma­tion. Chris­tian Di­ef­fen­bach was the sec­ond of four gen­er­a­tions of Di­ef­fen­bach pipe or­gan builders in Berks County. The or­gans were built in the nearby town of Bethel from ap­prox­i­mately 1780 to 1900.

This year’s event con­tin­ued the com­mu­nity ef­forts to raise funds to re­pair and main­tain Di­ef­fen­bach or­gans lo­cated in four Berks County churches and the Berks His­tory Cen­ter. The recital fea­tured two de­scen­dants of the or­gan builder, Larry Di­ef­fen­bach and Adam Di­ef­fen­bach, as well as some special guests.

Larry Di­ef­fen­bach is the great- great- great- great­grand­son of the or­gan builder, Chris­tian Di­ef­fen­bach. He be­gan pi­ano stud­ies at age 7 in his home­town of Mer­ril­lville, In­di­ana. At 16 he made his or­ches­tral de­but un­der the ba­ton of New York con­duc­tor Broch Macel­herin. He com­pleted his un­der­grad­u­ate stud­ies at Olivet Nazarene Univer­sity grad­u­at­ing with magna cum laude hon­ors and in­clu­sion in Who’s Who in Amer­i­can Col­leges and Uni­ver­si­ties. While at Olivet, Larry was ac­tive as an ac­com­pa­nist for nu­mer­ous en­sem­bles and solo recitals. He per­formed at Pres­i­dent Carter’s in­au­gu­ra­tion fes­tiv­i­ties dur­ing his fresh­man year. In 1982, Larry pur­sued grad­u­ate stud­ies at The Univer­sity of Colorado in Boul­der. Larry moved to Geneva, Illi­nois in 1984 to be­come the Ed­u­ca­tional Direc­tor at Cor­do­gan’s Pianoland. Since liv­ing in Geneva, he has been the Mu­si­cal Direc­tor of Lin­coln Opera, ac­com­pa­nist for many soloists and en­sem­bles in­clud­ing the St. Charles Singers, the El­gin Arts Cho­rale, and the St. Charles Art & Mu­sic Fes­ti­val. He founded and di­rected the In­ter­na­tional Pi­ano Com­pe­ti­tion for the fes­ti­val. He has served as or­gan­ist for Geneva United Methodist Church and Baker Memo­rial Church in St. Charles. He was the past sub- dean and dean of the Fox Val­ley Chap­ter of the Amer­i­can Guild of Or­gan­ists. Cur­rently, Larry teaches pri­vately in his Geneva home, teaches Kin­der­musik in St. Charles, is a part- time in­struc­tor at El­gin Com­mu­nity Col­lege, and serves as the Mu­sic Direc­tor of the Amer­i­can Grands con­cert. He is the Mu­sic Direc­tor at the Lit­tle Home Church by the Way­side lo­cated in Wayne. Larry has co- au­thored a new book/ mu­sic curriculum called What if we…?” The Quest and Ques­tions of Leonardo and Athena. In 2014 Larry was awarded the Or­rin G. Thomp­son Teach­ing Ex­cel­lence Award at El­gin Com­mu­nity Col­lege.

Adam Dief f en­bach, great- great- great- great­great- grand­son of the or­gan builder, is no stranger to these recitals. Adam, owner of Emery Broth­ers, Pipe Or­gan Tun­ing, Main­te­nance and Restoration, has been the recital­ist at the first three ben­e­fit recitals and is the Pres­i­dent of the Di­ef­fen­bach Or­gan Preser­va­tion So­ci­ety.

The first three ben­e­fit recitals and do­na­tions through­out the years have helped to raise more than $ 7,500. Funds are equally dis­trib­uted to the five pub­lic lo­ca­tions in Berks County, Penn­syl­va­nia, that have Di­ef­fen­bach or­gans: Al­ta­laha Lutheran Church, Rehrersburg; Berks His­tory Cen­ter, Read­ing; Friedens Church, Shartlesville; Salem Re­formed Church, Bethel; Zion St. John Reed’s Lutheran Church, Stouchs­burg.

For those who could not at­tend the pre­vi­ous recitals or would just like to re­live the mem­o­ries, DVDs of the pre­vi­ous recitals are avail­able for a min­i­mum do­na­tion of $ 15 for each DVD. New this year are DVDs of last year’s recital at Zion St. John Reed’s Lutheran Church. Also avail­able are hand­made or­na­ments fea­tur­ing the five pub­lic Di­ef­fen­bach or­gans lo­cated in Berks County, as well as the Chris­tian Di­ef­fen­bach or­gan built in 1808 for Zion Lutheran and Re­formed Church, Or­wigs­burg, which is now lo­cated in the Na­tional Mu­sic Mu­seum in Ver­mil­lion, South Dakota. A $ 5 do­na­tion is re­quested for each or­na­ment.

The Di­ef­fen­bach Or­gan Preser­va­tion So­ci­ety can ac­cept tax de­ductible con­tri­bu­tions as a 501( c)( 3) or­ga­ni­za­tion. Do­na­tions should be made payable to the Di­ef­fen­bach Or­gan Preser­va­tion So­ci­ety and mailed to PO Box 186, Bernville, PA 19506. If you are in­ter­ested in the DVDs, or­na­ments, would like to be­come a mem­ber of the Di­ef­fen­bach Or­gan Preser­va­tion So­ci­ety, or have any other ques­tions, con­tact Carol Di­ef­fen­bach Kant­ner at 610- 468- 9736 or email di­ef­fen­ba­chor­gans5@ gmail. com.

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